Big Book is a registered trademark of
Alcoholics Anonymous World
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Anonymous World Services, Inc.
registered trademark of Alcoholics Anonymous
A little about how this all got started:
Early in 1990, I had received my Alcoholics Anonymous 3rd Edition book
from the Valley General Hospital Recovery Center in Monroe,
WA. I soon found that I had too much free time on my hands.
Since I had recently gotten interested in leathercraft, from
reading some books about it, I thought I would try to make a leather
book cover for it. I had some scrap brown suede and some
vegetable tanned tooling leather.
My plan was to make the cover similar to the way we used to make covers
our school books with cut up brown paper grocery bags. The decoration
was a cut
out circle of vegetable tanned leather that I tooled a circle/triangle
design on it and dyed it
brown. Then using 1/8-inch leather lace I laced the first book cover.
Still have that book and cover. Here are the pictures:
Later I made a similar cover for my Twelve Step and Twelve Traditions
book and my little Twenty-Four Hours a Day book.
When I brought my Big Book to meetings people asked: "Where did you get
that cover?" and after I told them, they asked if I could make them one
and I did. Most were gifts to friends. This began to happen
regularly so I checked with some Twelve Steps Shops in the
Pacific Northwest. The "Rainbows
End 12 Step Shop" in Everett, WA offered to take them on
consignment which gave me the money to break even and make some for
profit and the profit was used to make gifts for others.
By the time I left for some work overseas I had made, sold or gifted
over 1,000 covers.
These covers were plain covers with lacing at the top and bottom.
While living in England, my wife and I often browsed the antique fairs
and shops. At one fair I noticed a gentleman selling a complete
printing press with all the movable type, chases, leading and even a
small press large enough to print announcements and business cards.
So for £100 ($160) I picked up all he had. I took the
stuff home and thought that this movable lead type
might be the way to personalize the book covers I was still making. I
needed some way to press the type onto the leather and the next antique
fair showed me a book press for another £100 ($160).
You can see how the letterpress type is used to emboss text on
to leather in the Training section. Now
with my ability to carve leather images, type to personalize
and some new found AA friends in England, I start to make gifts again.
In 2007 we moved to Richland, WA and settled down in retirement or so I
thought. I started to come up with different ideas for different
sized books, different designs and multiple (dual, even triple) book
2009 I formed Desert Leathercraft LLC, obtained the proper city, county
and state licenses and taxing requirements and launched the www.leatherbigbookcovers.com
Without any advertisement, someone stumbled on to the
www.leatherbigbookcover.com website and an order from South Carolina
came in. I
sent that cover and with in 2-weeks 3 more orders came in from the same
town as the first order. It seems that the best advertisement is "word
of mouth". This was repeated for Texas, New York,
California. even foreign locations
and soon I had more work than I could handle. I have found ways
to streamline making the custom leather covers (e.g. sewing the cover
instead of lacing, having embossing plates made for common symbols and
Now I have started teaching others what I have learned after the years
of making these custom leather covers. These custom leather book
covers are a labor of love.
As I get more spare time, I am putting together some instructional
notes in the Training section. By the end of 2014 there should be
enough material to allow anyone with some craft skills to make their
own leather book cover. If you do make your own cover, please
share a picture of it with me and I will post on this site.
"Book Cover" Bob
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